Duck Soup: Classic romp is satire gold


Francesca Macera, Vice President


Elisabeth DiAngelis, Secretary and Historian

of the English and Communications Club


At the start of the twentieth century, actors Chico, Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo Marx performed hilarious slapstick comedy routines that had audience members begging for more.  One of their funniest films is Duck Soup (McCrary, 1933), which tells the story of dictator Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho), who runs a poverty-stricken land called Freedonia. It faces bankruptcy due to mismanagement and is on the verge of a revolution when Dowager Gloria Teasdale (Jean Durmont) promises to donate $20 million to the government if Firefly assumes leadership. His rival, Trentino (Louis Calhern), the Ambassador of Sylvania, a neighboring country, sends two spies, Pinky (Harpo) and Chicolini (Chico), to oust Firefly so that Trentino can take over Freedonia. After Pinky and Chicolini fail to collect noteworthy information about Firefly, the latter is appointed Secretary of War when Firefly sees him on the street selling peanuts. Soon, Bob Roland (Zeppo), the personal assistant to Firefly, suspects the motives of Chicolini and counsels Firefly to expel him by insulting him. War is declared upon Sylvania after Firefly learns the identities of the two spies in his household.

The title Duck Soup refers to a 1927 short film of the same name that director Leo McCrary made with comedians Laurel and Hardy. In addition, it is an archaic American phrase that means anything simple or easyor, alternately, a gullible individual. Duck Soup can be viewed as a political satire that demonstrates how a population succumbs naïvely to dictatorial rule. This herd instinct, which was prevalent in Europe in 1933, enabled fascist leaders to gain control and unleash chaos and brutality.  Accordingly, the movie acts as a caveat for what happens when people blindly trust their leaders, who may be corrupt and greedy for absolute power.

Although Duck Soup floundered at the box office upon its initial release, it went on to garner a cult following in the decades to come. In fact, in 1990, this culturally significant film was added to the Library of Congress. Throughout the movie, viewers will enjoy amusing scenes of the funniest and most popular routines that the Marx Brothers performed, routines which inspired comedians such as Lucille Ball. Pick up Duck Soup in Gabriele Library, and watch it to be entertained by the hilarious Marx Brothers.


Lighthouse Catholic Media Kiosk

This semester, Campus Ministry is proud to present to our campus a new opportunity for continued learning and growth in our Christian Faith. located on the lower level of the library just outside of the Media Classroom is a kiosk of materials from Lighthouse Catholic Media and Stewardship: A Mission of Faith. This kiosk is loaded with contemporary CDs, books, pamphlets and booklets that will inform, inspire and engage you in thought regarding issues of our day and matters of Christian Faith. Whether you are a student, member of our staff, faculty or administration, this kiosk has something that will interest you and that can be a blessing for your families and friends. Lighthouse Catholic Media offers an opportunity for you to receive downloads of dynamic presentations on the faith. I encourage you to check out this new resource on campus and make use of it.  It has the potential of blessing you in countless ways.


Fr. Rogers


Advance APA Workshop for Doctoral Students

To support our doctoral students, Sister Carol Anne Couchara will offer an APA Workshop in the upcoming Spring semester on January 22 (Wednesday) from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

The Workshop will be held in 127 Loyola.

While the workshop will include general APA guidelines, the focus will be on incorporating APA into Doctoral papers (e.g., Proposals, Dissertations) If you would like to attend please RSVP to

Movie Review of the Great Gatsby (1974) by Jen Orlandi

     Having read the Great Gatsby, I was very interested to see how the movie would compare. Of course, I didn’t have high expectations being that I found the book rather dull. The beginning of the movie was just as bad as I expected it to be. There was over-dramatic reading of the beginning of the novel, during which the camera panned across Gatsby’s house, lingering over certain things in a way that I’m sure was supposed to be very meaningful and sentimental, but which only succeeded in boring me. My first impression of the actors was that they were all a little overdone, especially Daisy. Thankfully, as the movie progressed, I began to enjoy it more, though this may have been partially due to the fact that I had the foresight to continue watching it while working out at the gym, so that I would be occupied even if the movie got boring.

            The movie’s plot remained surprisingly close to that of the novel, though, naturally, some things were changed, as they always are. At times, I recognized in the movie parts of dialogue and narration that were lifted straight from the book. Because it followed to novel so closely, the movie was a rather lengthy two hours and 24 minutes, and I wouldn’t recommend watching it all in one sitting. However, you may be surprised to note that I would not entirely discourage you from watching it.

            By the end of the movie, I began to appreciate how the characters were portrayed, even Daisy. The Great Gatsby would surely have been a difficult movie to capture on film, and I think it was done reasonably well. The characters were well played, and the set and costumes felt authentic. As a lover of fashion history, I was thrilled with the costumes and the ability of the costumer to dress the women in authentic garb instead of stereotypical “flapper” dresses. After seeing this movie, I would like to see the newer version to see how it compares.  Reviewed by Jen Orlandi